Can I Claim Compensation For An Accountant Data Breach?

An accountant data breach can cause both financial harm and harm to your mental health. if your information has been compromised in a personal data breach as a result of an accounting organisation’s failings, and you have suffered harm, you may be able to make a claim. 

accountant data breach

Accountant data breach claims guide

In this article, we will explain what a personal data breach is, what kinds of personal data your accountant may have access to, and how a data breach can occur. We will also detail potential compensation amounts and how these amounts are calculated.

The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) are two key pieces of legislation that protect UK residents’ personal data. Under this legislation, your accountant is a data controller and may also be a data processor. A data controller decides why they use your data, and how, whereas a data processor handles this data on their behalf.

Our advisors can provide free legal advice, and can tell you if your claim is valid. To get in touch, you can:

Choose A Section

  1. What Is An Accountant Data Breach? 
  2. Examples Of A Data Breach Involving Accountants. 
  3. How Much Could I Get For An Accountant Data Breach?
  4. What Is A No Win No Fee Lawyer?
  5. Additional Information About An Accountant Data Breach.

What Is An Accountant Data Breach? 

A personal data breach is a security incident that results in unlawful or accidental destruction, loss, alteration or unauthorised access or disclosure of information that could identify you. For example, this could include your:

  • Name
  • Home address
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Debit or credit card information

Your accountant may also have access to special category data. This is a subtype of personal data that requires extra protection under the law. Special category data that your accountant may have access to may include:

  • Trade Union membership information
  • Information regarding your religion or philosophy
  • Data pertaining to your sexual orientation
  • Your nationality or ethnicity

However, not all breaches of this data will form a valid claim. To form a valid claim, the breach must occur as a result of the organisation responsible for your personal data’s failings. You must also suffer harm. This can be mental harm or financial harm. 

To find out if you can claim compensation for a data breach, or for more information on accountant data breach claims, contact our advisors today.

What Are The Time Limits For A Personal Data Breach Claim?

If a data breach could affect your rights or your freedoms, the organisation responsible must report it to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO within 72 hours. They must also inform you of the breach without undue delay.

Generally, you have six years to start a personal data breach claim. This becomes one year if you intent to make your claim against a public body, such as a local council or the NHS.

Examples Of A Data Breach Involving Accountants 

Due to the amount of personal data an accountant has access to, a personal data breach can happen in various ways. Some examples of how an accountant data breach could occur include:

  • Interacting with phishing scams
  • Misdelivery of your personal data– For example, an email containing your personal information may be sent to the wrong address, or a fax may be sent to the wrong recipient.
  • Failure to use BCC in a batch email could result in exposure of your personal email address
  • Loss or theft of devices that contain your personal data

However, as we mentioned earlier, not data breaches become successful claims. For example, if your accountant had adequate cybersecurity policies in place, but your data was compromised by a ransomware virus or malware attack, you may not be able to claim for this. This is because your accountant or their firm was not responsible for the breach.

What Are The Statistics For Financial Data Breaches?

The ICO oversees data protection in the UK. The ICO publishes quarterly statistics regarding data security incident trends across certain sectors. According to their findings, in Q4 of the 2021/22 financial year, there were 174 data security incidents in the finance, insurance and credit sector.

Our advisors can tell you if you have a valid accountant data breach claim, and can offer free legal advice when you get in touch.

How Much Could I Get For An Accountant Data Breach? 

Compensation for a data breach can be split into two heads: material damage and non-material damage. Material damage addresses the financial harm you suffer as a result of the claim. For example, this could be damage to your credit score or debt and arrears that you did not incur.

Non-material damage refers to the psychological impact of the breach. For example, you may suffer stress, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of a personal data breach.

Previously, you could only claim non-material damage at the same time as material damage. However, since Vidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc [2015], claimants may now pursue non-material damage alone or in conjunction with material damage.

The table below illustrates figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG often helps legal professionals such as solicitors value data breach claims, as it contains guideline compensation amounts for a variety of illnesses and injuries. The amounts below refer to guideline amounts for non-material damage.

InjurySeverityCompensation BracketNotes
Psychological Damage Generally (a)Severe£54,830 to £115,730The injured person will have marked issues with relationships and the ability to cope with daily life. The prognosis for this case is very poor.
Psychological Damages Generally (b)Moderately Severe£19,070 to £54,830Significant problems similar to the above, but with a more optimistic prognosis.
Psychological Damages Generally (c)Moderate£5,860 to £19,070There will be a marked improvement due to trial with a good prognosis, despite remnant difficulties with the factors of (a)
Psychological Damages Generally (d)Less Severe£1,540 to £5,860The length of disability will be considered alongside how basic functions like sleep are impacted.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (a)Severe£59,860 to £100,670These cases will involve permanent effects with no ability to return to work or function at pre-trauma levels.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (b)Moderately Severe£23,150 to £59,860Some improvement of symptoms with professional help. Remnant effects, however, will cause considerable disability for the foreseeable future.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (c)Moderate£8,180 to £23,150The injured will have likely recovered with the remaining effects that are not grossly disabling.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (d)Less Severe33,950 to £8,180Within two years, a near-full recovery will have been made with only minor symptoms persisting.

These figures are guidelines only. For a free estimate of what your accountant data breach claim could be worth, contact our team today.

What Is A No Win No Fee Lawyer? 

Data protection breaches fall under a complex area of the law, and starting a claim may seem daunting. However, the claiming process could feel less daunting with the help of a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel.

A No Win No Fee solicitor may offer their representation under a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Generally, you do not pay your solicitor an upfront fee under a CFA. if your claim succeeds, a small success fee will be taken from your award. The percentage of this fee has a legal cap, and your solicitor will discuss this with you before you start your claim. However, if your claim does not succeed, you will not pay this fee.

Our team of advisors are ready to help you. They can provide free legal advice and can identify whether you have a valid claim. If you do, they may put you in contact with our panel of expert personal data breach solicitors.

To learn more about how a solicitor from our panel could help you with your accountant data breach claim, get in touch today by:

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Additional Information About An Accountant Data Breach 

For more helpful information surrounding personal data breaches:

Or, for more informative guides:

For more information on making an accountant data breach claim, contact our team today.

Writer Ryan Walsh

Editor Cat Hunt